Texas man gets life for killing girlfriend, dismembering her and dissolving body in barrel of chemicals
Tarrant County officials said a jury on Tuesday, May 21, found a man guilty of murdering a woman and dismembering her body before dissolving the body parts in a barrel of chemicals. The Tarrant County district attorney's office said in a news release that 50-year-old Kevin Wayne Powell was sentenced to life in prison without parole after the capital murder conviction, according to a Dallas News report.
The release stated that the case stemmed from the 2015 murder of 28-year-old Kasey Rae Nutter, who was Powell's live-in girlfriend at the time. "Kasey was living a life of terror at the hands of the defendant and saw no way out," Prosecutor Allenna Bangs said in the release. "His abuse and her untimely death should not have been the end of her story. She deserved better, and the jury saw fit to rectify that."
Nutter filed aggravated assault charges against Powell in November 2015 after he tried to strangle her with a wire, suffocate her with a plastic bag and drown her in a shower, WFAA reported. This was a month before the gruesome murder, and resulted in a pending charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Powell, aside from the murder count.
Nutter was reportedly afraid Powell would hurt her if charges from the November assault were lodged against him, witnesses told the jury. Meanwhile, the defense argued that Nutter's death could not be confirmed as authorities had never recovered her body. For almost three years, detectives were on the hunt for Nutter but never found any indication she was alive, according to a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The self-employed home remodeler had killed Nutter, hacked her body into small pieces, and dissolved her remains in a barrel of chemicals, a relative of his testified in court.
According to the release, police found that Powell had repainted his bedroom and covered parts of the floor with furniture. Authorities later found Nutter's DNA along the floor and baseboards. However, defense lawyers argued that Nutter could have been killed or exploited by any number of people considering her past as an exotic dancer and her history of drug abuse and mental illness.
Jurors did not take more than an hour to return a guilty verdict after the weeklong trial that began May 14, 2016. Powell was indicted on the capital murder charge in October that year. As of now, Powell is being held at the Tarrant County Jail.